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Studio2 Architects on what sets New Zealand architecture apart

In our Behind the Design series we talk to renowned architect Paul Clarke of Studio2 Architects about his journey, the design process and what makes New Zealand architecture so good   

In our new video series Behind the Design we sit down with members of our Trends Design Council to get ideas, advice and find out what design means to them.

In this episode, we spoke to leading Auckland-based architect Paul Clarke of Studio2 Architects. Paul has scooped many awards and accolades for his beautifully considered work, including the 2020 TIDA Architect-Designed Kitchen of the Year and NZIA Award 2016 Award for Housing.


The path to Paul’s successful career was forged in high school through his love of art. Paul believes every house is like a piece of artwork and this artistic sensibility has been the underlying driver in all of his designs. “Each project is like a new canvas, it’s like art,” he explains.

Along with this underlying passion for art, Paul says the New Zealand landscape is a key source of inspiration for Studio2’s designs. Many of the firm’s most well known projects feature rich combinations of natural materials like American oak, sandstone and cedar.

The way the landscape is drawn upon to inform the material choices and sculptural forms within in a home is what Paul loves the most about New Zealand architecture. He describes how a builder he works with often talks about how “a good building shouldn’t fight the land; it should be part of the land.” The careful crafting of houses and the sympathetic way they’re designed to sit in the landscape is reflection of the talent in the country.

As a guest lecturer at various universities Paul says he’s excited to see the new talent and ideas coming through into the industry. “The wonderful thing about architecture is that you’re always learning,” says Paul. “I always say, when you stop learning you’re dead,” he laughs.

Watch the video above find out more about Paul’s architecture journey and hear how he thinks the build process can be a bit like having young children.

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Simon Devitt

26 Jul, 2020

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